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Gurnee woman wins top state park award

Sue McDougle Gurnee manager youth early childhood programs Gurnee Park District her office Hunt Club Park Community Center. She recently

Sue McDougle of Gurnee manager of youth and early childhood programs at the Gurnee Park District in her office at the Hunt Club Park Community Center. She recently won the Professional of the Year Award from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 16, 2013 1:56AM



A longtime Gurnee Park District employee has been named Park and Recreational Professional of the Year.

Sue McDougle of Gurnee is the park district’s early childhood and youth programs manager and Illinois Parks and Recreation Association’s Recreation Section Professional of the Year for 2012.

“I’ve never gotten any recognition like this before,” McDougle said.

The professional of the year is an individual who works for and supports the IPRA’s mission to provide the best parks, recreation and conservation of resources and services.

McDougle has been a member of the IPRA Early Childhood Committee for more than 10 years.

She started working for the Gurnee Park District in 1999 as a part-time preschool teacher. She became employed full time and got her current job responsibilities in 2003.

She oversees the district’s preschool program, before- and after-school programs and day camp.

“Our park district is very proud of Sue and her passion for her career and the recreation profession. She has a long track record of addressing recreation needs, bringing people together through her position at the Gurnee Park District, as well as her volunteer involvement in our community,” Park Board President Jim Goshorn said.

McDougle also is the district’s liaison with Warren Special Recreation Association, an organization that provides people with special needs with park services. McDougle is a board member for Woodland Educational Foundation and is a member of Gurnee Days Corp., the organization that puts together the annual Gurnee Days four-day festival.

McDougle said she often gets to see her job come “full circle.” Many teenagers who volunteer at summer day camp or work in the after-school program tell her about their fond experiences in those same programs when they were children.

McDougle works with children from ages 3 through teenagers.

“I truly think children are a gift at any age,” McDougle said. “Whenever we have programs for children, it obviously involves their parents and their families. That is the other part of my job. It’s really rewarding to get to know children and their families.”



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